Giveaways, Technology, Tips & Trends

Photographer’s How-To: Capture Your Active Toddler With Ease + Giveaway

This post on toddler photography tips is brought to you by your fellow photo lovers at Shutterfly. They encourage you to capture your memories and share your amazing pictures the way you want with their New Custom Path photo books.

Toddlers are really fast movers and have endless amounts of energy which makes snapping that perfectly posed photo near impossible.  My toddler son is notorious for giving me either a silly face, tongue out or forced oversized grin. Thank heavens for the digital camera right? I snap away without commitment and I know I’ll get a few shots with a natural smile and adorable face. When it comes to capturing your toddler in action, New York based photographer and mom of three Johanna Lindsay has it down pat. You are likely to find her out and about in downtown Manhattan with camera in tow, ready to capture those priceless toddler moments. Johanna has been kind enough to share some of her top tips for capturing the energy, joy and excitement of the toddler.

Photographer Tips on Capturing Your Toddler In Action

1. Lighting is key!– The best lighting is natural sunlight. I love it. Soft and lovely. If it’s too bright, you will get an end result of shadows and a toddler with squinty eyes. Shoot in open shade and avoid direct sun. If you take photographs inside, try to do it near a large window that doesn’t have direct light and turn the flash off. If you do use a flash make sure it’s a good one, so the pictures aren’t dark. Also, set your camera to the red eye reduction mode – you can always remove the red eye later with photo editing.

2. Get down on your knees. You need to get down to their level. You don’t want to have all your toddler pictures of him/her looking up -although sometimes that effect is quite good. My favorite lens at the moment is a 50mm. It allows you to get up close and personal. The results are incredible.

3. Shoot lots. – Having your toddler sit still and pose for the camera is no easy feat. Toddlers are on the move and move fast. Take a ton of pictures, you may only get one or two amazing shots. Don’t worry about being snap happy, if you have a digital camera you can review your shots and press the delete button. Presto, they’re gone.

4. Background– Avoid shooting backgrounds that are distracting, you want to focus on capturing your toddler. Carry your camera at all times I always carry my camera in my bag. You just never know. Those spontaneous shots are often the best in the bunch.

5. Have fun and go with the flow – Do whatever it takes to make your child smile (use props/toys/food) and put that twinkle in their eye – you may look ridiculous in the process of doing so, but you may end up with a fantastic shot. Not all pictures have to have your toddler smiling. Remember great photographs come from real moments and those are the keepers.

6. Bribery – When all else fails……

Thank you Johanna for the great tips! Check out more of her work on her blog, From The West Village and use your favorite summer photos in a new Custom Path Photo Book today!

GIVEAWAY ALERT! The first 5 readers to comment below on how you plan to capture your toddler in photos (using some of Johanna’s tips!) will win a free 20-page 8×8 photo book with hard cover. Taxes, shipping and handling charge will apply. Offer does not include premium licensed photo books, leather, or padded covers. Good Luck!



  1. 1

    I love the “don’t be afraid of bribery tip. My son loves I’ll def be using those!! Another tip that I liked was “have fun and go with the flow” I think i can be uptight about having something a certain way..and sometimes when you just lighten up..its way more fun!!

  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

    The “shoot lots” tip is a great one! The more shots, the better chance of getting some great ones!! Thanks so much for these tips!

  5. 5

    I always have a camera on hand. With a 4 year old daughter and 10 month old son we are always on the move and I nev want to miss a good photo oportunity!

  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10

    Photos are about memories, Great tips on how to make the best photos, Love Candid shots better than posing.

  11. 11
  12. 12

    I plan to capture my toddler in action by doing whatever it takes to make him smile, even if it means me acting silly! I love getting great pics of my kids.

  13. 13
  14. 14

    bribery is almost an always with my lil boy unless its an action shot :) he just isnt a poser bless him

  15. 15

    Thanku for the great tips. I personally am a first time mom and the “get on ur knees” to their level is a huge advise for me to use in the future.

  16. 16

    What makes all of this easier is that a camera now comes in the form of a phone, an ipod, and iPad, whatever. Cameras are everywhere and what Moms don’t have a smart-phone with apps and gadgets. I agree with the author, use the camera and shoot away. it’s free. remember how awful it was to have film delveloped? Seems like so long ago.

  17. 17

    I am a wedding planner and even though we hire professional photographers I always have some form of camera to capture moments that are missed. Good advice and taking lots of digital pictures is very green and affordable, to get that money shot .

  18. 18
  19. 19

    Thanks for all these tips. I have always had difficulty capturing decent photos of my toddler. He’s so active and elusive! And oh, that last one on bribery cracked me up! I hope bribery works for my son, but sadly, it doesn’t… tried it a lot of times to no avail!

  20. 20

    We love these tips too. Melisa and I are always trying to capture the “perfect” family photo without success. Thank you Jo and thank you PN readers for all the great feedback – P

  21. 21

    These are great tips! Toddler never want to pose when you want them too!!! For any of you interested in additional tips, I recently purchased a product from the site for my cousin who found a new love of photography with the birth of her twin boys. It has tons of tips for taking toddler photos, lighting, editing.

    if you decide to purchase, try using the intro10 code in the referral box after purchase to get a rebate…not sure if that will still work, but worth a shot!

    Thanks again Pam for all your tips!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *